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why Xavier Bertrand leaves so early in the countryside

The false suspense is lifted.Yes i will be a candidate“in the 2022 presidential election, said Xavier Bertrand, Wednesday March 24, to the weekly Point. “I am totally determined”, he said. Determined especially to “out of speed all its competitors on the right”, summarizes the political journalist of the Point Nathalie Schuck. And without going through the primary box: the president of the Hauts-de-France region assured that he does not “would participate” not to this type of competition right. Before adding, as a call to the gathering : I respect those who have a different approach and I will work with all of them. “ Why the former Minister of Health of Nicolas Sarkozy does he leave for the countryside so early? Response elements.

To take his rivals off guard

“He leaves early because he’s afraid the right won’t want him”, analyzes political science professor Rémi Lefebvre, interviewed by franceinfo. “And this is partly true because his attitude is ambiguous: on the one hand Xavier Bertrand does not want the Les Républicains label [parti qu’il a quitté en 2017] but on the other hand, he wants to be the candidate of that party. Suddenly, to establish himself as the candidate of the right, he wants to pass in force by scoring points in the opinion. “

If there is another candidate on the right, he is dead. Suddenly, he said to himself: ‘If I go up in the polls on the right, there will be no other candidate’.

Rémi Lefebvre, political scientist

to franceinfo

On the right, the reception is indeed mixed. Certainly the number 2 of LR, Guillaume Peltier, close to the president of the Hauts-de-France region, is enthusiastic in a statement to AFP: “Xavier Bertand appears today as the only one capable of winning our ideas from a patriotic and proud right.” But another member of the party confides anonymously, still to AFP: “The resistance is going to be terrible. There is only one scenario where it works: if Xavier Bertrand manages to kill the match within two months.”

Especially that on the right, appetites are sharpened. Lhe boss of LR senators, Bruno Retailleau, with ambitions assumed for 2022, assured him Thursday in an interview with Sud-Radio: “The primary will take place. I don’t know if we’re going to call it the primary, we’re going to call it democracy.” The president of the Ile-de-France region, Valérie Pécresse, had for her part pleaded a few days earlier for “the most open primary possible”. This week, two other tenors also spoke: the president of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, Laurent Wauquiez, who “does not want to be a spectator”, while Michel Barnier assured to keep “strength” to embark on a campaign.

To climb in the polls

The question will therefore be whether the polls follow. “In the polls it is not taking off, but the campaign has not yet started”, notes Rémi Lefebvre. “He starts from a modest mattress of 14 to 16% of the voting intentions in the first round”, Note Point. “Modest mattress” ? Contacted by franceinfo, the deputy director general of Ifop, Frédéric Dabi, is less critical. In the inquiries into the 2022 presidential election, he argues, the former mayor of Saint-Quentin (Aisne) is best placed after Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron (credited respectively with 24% and 28% of voting intentions in the 1st round in the last Ifop poll).

For the moment, Xavier Bertrand is in a relatively comfortable situation with a third place where he is credited with 15% of the voting intentions. A base that is not bad, a year before the election.

Frédéric Dabi, Deputy Director General of Ifop

to franceinfo

“He is not in the second round, but he is in third position. In the second round, he would have the best score against Marine Le Pen”, argues Férédic Dabi, based on the Ifop-Marianne crediting Xavier Bertrand from 57% votes against Marine Le Pen in the event of such a second round, against 53% for Emmanuel Macron. To the former Minister of Health, he concludes, of “get out of his third man status by differentiating himself from the other two. His image earns him 40 to 45% of good opinions, but it is a catch-all popularity, which does not mean that he will win . “

To oppose Emmanuel Macron

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With this entry into the campaign, Xavier Bertrand is above all staged as the best opponent to the Head of State, whom he attacks on the subject of insecurity. “Faced with an Emmanuel Macron weakened by the health crisis, he buys himself a right to speak en running as a presidential candidate “, considers Rémi Lefebvre. “Its very right-wing programmatic offer responds to the concerns of the French about insecurity, which is an Achilles heel for Emmanuel Macron”, adds Frédéric Dabi.

This is indeed one of the major axes of maintenance at the Point of the President of Hauts-de-France. “LThe French are watching, amazed, the collapse of authority and the accusation of our model by Islamo-leftism, while we are the most united country in the world “, he declares for example, taking up in passing the government theme of the fight against “Islamogauchism” to turn it against the executive.. Before moving on to an expression by Marine Le Pen borrowed from the very right-handed essayist Laurent Obertone: I take over the observation ‘France Mechanical Orange’ “, asserts the former member of the Aisne.

Emmanuel Macron has never taken the measure of what is happening to us. The head of state is responsible for the security of the French.

Xavier Bertrand, President of the Hauts-de-France region

in “Le Point”

In this same interview, the president of Hauts-de-France sets course to the whole right, by listing a series of repressive proposals, which range from“lowering to 15 years ofage of criminal majority “to the establishment “automatic minimum sentences”, going through a “fifty-year safety period” en “matters of terrorism”, “retroactively”. “Speaking of sovereignty and justice: he clearly sends signals to the right-wing electorate which constitutes his base, decrypts Rémi Lefebvre. And with his very right-handed speech on security, he also seeks to capture voices that could go to the far right. “

To pose as a “popular” candidate

Finally, it is about taking the time to sell the image of “social Gaullist, of a social and popular right”, by which Xavier Bertrand is defined in Point. How should we interpret this term “social Gaullist” when social propositions occupy relatively little place in the interview? By the contrast that the regional elected official offers with the head of state, decodes Rémi Lefebvre.

“Xavier Bertrand thinks he can attract left-wing voters thanks to his image as a provincial, a politician who is not a technocrat, not an enarch, poles apart from Emmanuel Macron.”

Rémi Lefebvre, political scientist

to franceinfo

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“As today, there are no more benchmarks, he is playing the card of confusion with the ‘social right'”, develops the political scientist. Xavier Bertrand wants to embody a more sovereignist, more protectionist right, unlike the ultra-liberalism of François Fillon. In January, the president of Hauts-de-France did not hide his discussion with former socialist minister Arnaud Montebourg, creating a stir on the right and on the left.

“His goal is to get the right to vote, which still represents 20% of the electorate and for the rest, he will look for voters everywhere. He presents himself on the one hand as the recourse against the far right and to Marine the Pen and on the other hand as the candidate for France from below against Emmanuel Macron. “

Rémi Lefebvre, political scientist

to franceinfo

But this claimed local anchoring will force him to carry out a high-flying exercise. Because Xavier Bertrand is now both a candidate for the 2022 regional, knowing that they may be postponed because of the pandemic, and for the presidential election. “It means that if he is elected at the head of the region, he will no longer deal with the region, but with the presidential campaign. It is an expensive choice that he had to arbitrate”, observes Rémi Lefebvre. And if he loses, facing a left for once united around the environmentalist Karima Delli? “If I don’t get the trust of 6 million people, I’m not going to ask for the trust of 66 million French people”, assures Xavier Bertrand in Point.

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